Tramscape Tramway Photographs


Chemnitz, Germany : 1997
In 1956, the authorities of Karl-Marx-Stadt, which Chemnitz had been named since 1953, decided on a policy of converting their tramway from the unusual 925mm gauge to standard 1435mm gauge. Rising passenger numbers, predominantly 30-year-old trams, poor street alignments with much single-track gutter running in the suburbs and unreliable power supplies had led to a crisis in the city's transport system and complete conversion to buses was a distinct possibility. Due to the size of the city it was still believed that trams should be the backbone of the network, so long as it was built to the best modern standards. Only a change from 925mm gauge, which was unique in Germany, would enable the purchase of new trams from the Gotha factory and later from Tatra in Czechoslovakia, whose T3 design was rapidly becoming the new standard throughout eastern Europe. The narrow-gauge system was closed in stages between 1959 and 1988, with some lines replaced and others still awaiting the return of trams. The large "Fritz Heckert" housing estate has been added to the network, with trams running to a terminus now known as Hutholz.

Routes were closed as follows:
- Altchemnitz (1959 - replaced by standard gauge line 1960-1961)
- Bernsdorf (1968 - replaced by standard gauge line in 1972 to Wartburgstrasse and 1973 to Bernsdorf Sommerbad)
- Furth-Glosa and Zeisigwaldstrasse lines (run as line 7 until Februry 1972 - closed without tram replacement)
- Borna (1975 - no tram replacement)
- Ebersdorf (1975 - no tram replacement)
- Gablenz (1976 - replaced by standard gauge line to Hans-Beimler-Strasse in Oct. 1976, extended to Carl-von-Ossietzky Strasse in 1977)
- Siegmar (1980 - from Schonau Industriewerk, no tram replacement. 1981 - city centre to Schonau, replaced by standard gauge line 1988)
- Weststrasse (1983 - no tram replacement)
- Rottluff (1988 - no tram replacement)

New standard gauge extensions to the network were built as follows:

- Wohngebiet Fritz Heckert (1979-1982 - branch from the Altchemnitz route on Sudring and Wladimir-Sagorski-Strasse).
- Stollberger Strasse (1998 - from Wohngebiet Fritz Heckert to Strasse am Flughafen)

The network in the city centre saw considerable changes during the period of conversion, the central interchange, aptly named "Zentralhaltestelle", had adjacent platforms for both systems. In recent years, Zentralhaltestelle has been resited within Rathausstrasse, freeing up city centre space for retail development. A new link was opened in August 1997 on Bruckenstrasse between Bahnhofstrasse and Strasse der Nationen to relieve Zentralhaltestelle and with a view to ensuring that the city centre is equipped to handle extra traffic from planned future extensions to the network.

The first new line will be along Stollberger Strasse, providing a second route to the Wohnung Fritz Heckert, and joining the route already built between Strasse am Flughafen and the Wohngebiet. Future planned extensions include a continuation of the new Bruckenstrasse line through the city centre to Rottluff and Borna, from Hauptbahnhof to Ebersdorf and from Schonau to Siegmar. If these are actually built, much of the 925mm network will have been recreated. Longer-term plans also exist to extend tram services beyond the existing termini by using mainline rail alignments.

Originally, 16 double-ended standard gauge trams were purchased from the Gotha factory along with 26 trailers. These were transferred to Dresden between 1965 and 1967 when new single-ended Gotha tram sets were delivered. The first Tatra T3D came into service in 1969 and by 1972, 37 were in the fleet. Further purchases, including trailers, were made up until 1988 and with the Gotha trams withdrawn in 1974/5 (transferred to Potsdam, Brandenburg and Rostock), the fleet was made up of single 2.5m wide tram type. Between 1992 and 1993 the 36 most modern trams (497, dating from 1981 up to 532) plus 14 trailers were completely modernised by Waggonbau Bautzen. Also in 1993, Chemnitz took delivery of the prototype fully low-floor "Variobahn" articulated tram from ABB. In December 1996 a contract was signed for the delivery of a further 23 (including 5 double-ended) of these 2.65 m wide trams between October 1998 and the year 2000. Delivery of Variobahn trams has led to the progressive withdrawal of unmodernised red-liveried Tatras.

 
Date Film No No Location View Dir Tram Notes
28/03/1997 970102 1 Bernsdorf In Out 419
28/03/1997 970102 2 Bernsdorf Out In 473
28/03/1997 970102 3 Augsburger Strasse Out In 419
28/03/1997 970102 4 Lutherstrasse In Out 473
28/03/1997 970102 5 Annenstrasse Out In 505
28/03/1997 970102 6 Annenstrasse In Out 419
28/03/1997 970102 7 Ernst-Wabra-Strasse Out In 443
28/03/1997 970102 8 Burkhardtsdorfer Strasse Out In 499
28/03/1997 970102 9 Stollberger Strasse Out In 517
28/03/1997 970102 10 Stollberger Strasse In Out

28/03/1997 970102 11 Dittersdorfer Strasse Out In 519
28/03/1997 970102 12 Erdmannsdorfer Strasse In Out 517 On Annaberger Strasse
28/03/1997 970102 13 Erdmannsdorfer Strasse Out In 507
28/03/1997 970102 14 Theaterplatz Out In 497
28/03/1997 970102 15 Theaterplatz In Out 443
28/03/1997 970102 16 Theaterplatz In Out 443
28/03/1997 970102 17 Theaterplatz Out In 443
28/03/1997 970102 18 Theaterplatz In Out 495
28/03/1997 970102 19 Zentralhaltestelle In Out 457
28/03/1997 970102 20 Zentralhaltestelle

461
28/03/1997 970102 21 Zentralhaltestelle Out In 457
28/03/1997 970102 22 Zentralhaltestelle

495
28/03/1997 970102 23 Strasse der Nationen Out In 503
28/03/1997 970102 24 Bruckenstrasse Out In 489 On Bahnhofstrasse
28/03/1997 970102 25 Bruckenstrasse In Out 491 On Bahnhofstrasse
28/03/1997 970111 1 Zieschenstrasse Out In 461
28/03/1997 970111 2 Zieschenstrasse In Out 529
28/03/1997 970111 3 Tschaikowskistrasse Out In 481
28/03/1997 970111 4 Tschaikowskistrasse In Out 487
28/03/1997 970111 5 Pappelhain Out In 487
28/03/1997 970111 6 Gablenzplatz In Out 489
28/03/1997 970111 7 Gablenzplatz Out In 489

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